Today we’d like to introduce you to Jocelyn Taitingfong-Camarillo.
Jocelyn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been documenting memories since 2013. My photography journey took a pinnacle turn in May 2013 when I begged my grandparents to dress formally for portraits on their 50th wedding anniversary.
During that time of pleading with them, I learned that my grandmother, Maria Taitingfong, had no portraits with my grandfather in his military uniform. My grandfather, Vicente Taitingfong, survived through Japanese-occupied Guam in World War II, served in the United States Army for over 20 years, and served two deployments during the Vietnam War.
Knowing the type of military resume had, and the life they lived, I was appalled that during a 20 year period, my grandmother never had the opportunity to do this with my grandfather. I asked my grandfather, Vicente, if he would please give his wife the honor to wear his dress greens, and take portraits with her on this huge milestone in their marriage.
His eyes watered, and he willingly busted out the uniform he retired in, over 20 years ago. And in May of 2014, I had the honor of giving my grandparents an experience they never had before: I saw the light shine in their eyes as they remembered the life they lived with the military and all of the memories they made together throughout their lifetime.
Flash forward to 2019, and my grandfather is in the end stages of dementia, and so is my grandmother. Today, we try and embrace every moment we are blessed to have with them. And today, I realize that the portraits I took were not only for my grandparents but for the generations that is to come.
So that they can see what their lineage looked like, and have a face to the stories of the people who sacrificed to give us better lives. It was just recently that I learned that my style of editing is geared toward passion portraiture and documentary. What I instruct my camera to do is to solidify heirlooms for future generations to cherish.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life is crazy: it’s not this flat road with wildflowers on the side of the road, with scenic views. It is filled with detours, and your GPS can always try and find you a faster route if you choose to listen to it.
I’ve learned since 2013 to embrace struggle and change. One of the most valuable lessons that life has given me is to understand that sometimes life puts obstacles in your way to make you stronger in your craft and as a person.
To continue the theme of the military in my life, I am a military spouse to an active duty Marine. With the military comes its own share of struggles, but having to continue to uproot my business due to my husband’s career has been a constant struggle. I had mentioned that I relocated to the Joshua Tree area, but I actually still service the San Diego area!
I’ve been blessed to make connections with the strong military community, and am thankful to find my way back to San Diego to be part of a couple’s big day, witnessing a family be reunited after a deployment, or families wanting portraits at one of San Diego’s finest beaches before they say goodbye and move to another duty station.
Supporting my husband’s career while trying to build my own has broken me down, but without his love and support to continue to work toward my own goals, I don’t know where I’d be!
Jocelyn Marie Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Jocelyn Marie Photography focuses on passion portraiture through lifestyle/documentary style of work. I primarily photograph elopements, intimate weddings, and portraiture. I have started to have a rise of military homecoming inquiries also, and categorize that under my passion portrait work. I pride myself in connecting with clients on why they’re hiring me.
For instance: weddings. Of course, the entire day is a huge event filled with so memorable moments. But what breaks me down is when I hear that brides will have their grandparents present. Not all of us are so lucky to have this generation present at their wedding.
And to take business personally, I remember how important it was for my photographer to document as much as they can of me and my grandparents. The tear-worthy moments of witnessing a grandfather have a first-look with his granddaughter is an indescribable feeling that I wish everyone can experience.
I love being able to relate to my clients on weddings — most are so stressed on it being perfect, and it usually calms their nerves down when I share the craziness that I too experienced with my own wedding! I believe that hiring a photographer who has shared their own stresses and worries, helps them find comfort during the wedding planning process.
On the day of, I actually continue to share stories of what I did at my own wedding, and it either has brides, and grooms laughing, or have a breath of realization that life IS crazy and no matter what happens, we’ll find our detour through this.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is having clients so ecstatic with the level of service and communication I gave them, that they tell their friends about it. Majority of my business is based off of referrals and word-of-mouth. I’m very blessed to have worked with clients who cherish my storytelling, sharing joy, and maybe even sharing tears, to capture their event through emotion.
Success is also when you can take feedback and turn it into motivation to be better as a business. I’m always asking for feedback on me so that I can be better for them, and for future clients. Each client is giving a feedback survey so I can constantly work on being better.
- Elopements start at $450
- Intimate weddings start at $850
- Passion Portraiture start at $350